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Drug trial looks to extend lives of people with advanced kidney cancer

Chemotherapy used to be the only option for people with advanced kidney cancer, the chemicals attacking the cancer cells along with the body‘s healthy cells. A more targeted therapy was designed to zero in on the cancer cells, but its long-term results are not great.

“It was an improvement over chemotherapy, but it certainly had its own limitations,” says Gennady Bratslavsky, MD, who chairs Upstate‘s Urology Department and directs the Prostate Cancer Program.

He leads a trial at Upstate that offers patients a vaccine made just for them, designed to enlist their bodies‘ immune systems in the cancer fight. “The theory is that if we were to train the body‘s own immune system to recognize the cancerous cells, we could get a much more effective killing of the cancer cells,” he says.

Listen: Dr. Bratslavsky explains the trial

Bratslavsky‘s trial is part of an international, multi-institutional study of patients with metastatic kidney cancer, or kidney cancer that has spread beyond the kidney. Patients who join the trial will undergo surgery, have their tumors analyzed, and then be placed in one of two groups. Both groups of patients will receive state-of-the-art therapy, and one group will also receive this new vaccine.

Upstate is one of the first sites in the United States to offer this trial -- along with the hope it provides for the patients.

Learn more by calling Upstate Urology at 315-464-1500.

Gennady Bratslavsky, MD

Gennady Bratslavsky, MD

Listen: Dr. Bratslavsky explains the trial

Read: What's new in kidney cancer research

Contact:  Upstate Urology